Authentic Alauna

The "glamour" shoot I did with the other day had another participant - Alauna Whelan. Alauna, Tracy and I have bonded over our businesses. All different areas, but all dealing with problems of entrepreneurship - websites, getting clients, business cards, taxes, etc. So we've got some group messages, and some occasional get-togethers to talk "shop". And I also get to use her as one of my guinea pigs for shoots like this!

I have had no greater supporter than Alauna. She has been on board for every type of shoot I set up, constantly encouraging me to do more, charge more, and believe in myself more. Her support has been very valuable to me, especially as I tentatively reach out a bit more since being laid off. Her immediate advice was that I should teach a workshop, and she offered her a networking opportunity at her Mother's Day Red Tent event. The confidence she has shown in me, as well as the practical, nuts and bolts, business advice has helped me take steps in my photography that I would be to nervous to do on my own. And on top of the confidence she has given me, she's also given me motivation to succeed, to live up to her esteem.

I am again a wonderful beneficiary of my friend's talents, and encourage everyone to try to attend one of Alauna's Red Tent events.  In her Red Tent events, Alauna "creates and holds space for women to connect and emotionally fill their cup for the coming month. This allows women to experience true authenticity and vulnerability." I feel like that is exactly what Alauna has done for me through our friendship, allowing me to be vulnerable, and explore my authentic self, in a completely safe way, without me even having to ask or acknowledge I needed it. 

I will be honest, I struggled taking pictures of Alauna at first. I was trying to mold her to the poses I read about, to twist her expression into the mask of what I had pictured. But Alauna was too authentically herself to look natural in the contrived character I was creating.  It was a wonderful lesson to me. The pictures I took are very HER, not some ingenue, or pin-up, and I completely love them. The only word that comes to mind in them is Raw. Which is probably the best word I could think of to describe Alauna. I hope she doesn't take offence at that, because I mean it as a compliment. If I had to find synonyms I'd use beautiful, passionate, emotional, honest, real, authentic, free, spiritual. We joked during the photos that her every thought showed on her face, including the "that's a dumb idea Randi" ones. But that just is perfectly Alauna. She has no fake mask, and has nothing under her skin except her raw, beautiful self.

Tell me if you agree: